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October 23, 2008 - Image 95

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2008-10-23

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I Spirituality

Gentle Wisdom

Rabbi Yoskowitz of Adat Shalom moves toward semi-retirement.

Judy Marx

she has received outstanding commen-

Special to the Jewish News


abbi Herbert Yoskowitz moved
his wife, Rachel, and their three
children from Delaware to
Michigan 14 years ago to become spiri-
tual leader of Congregation Beth Achim,
then in Southfield.
Four years later, when Adat Shalom
Synagogue mergered with Beth Achim,
Yoskowitz made another move when he
joined Rabbis Efry Spectre and Daniel
Nevins at Adat Shalom in Farmington
Hills. Now he looks forward to semi-
retirement. He will begin a sabbatical
year at the end of December, then return
to Adat Shalom part-time.
Nevins has been touched by the gentle
wisdom and caring manner of Yoskowitz.
"One of the many blessings of my years
working at Adat Shalom was the part-
nership and friendship that I formed
with Rabbi Herb Yoskowitz," Nevins said.
"Herb brought a wealth of experience to
the congregation and a seemingly inex-
haustible well of energy.
"He loved to attend daily minyan, to
visit congregants in the hospital and to
plan educational programs. Herb was
always reading, and he enjoyed sharing
what he learned with the congregation.
He was eager to innovate — in forming
professional affinity groups or creating a
healing service — and he never slowed
down. He is extremely loyal to family,
friends, congregation and country. I
learned a great deal from his example of
professionalism and diligence."

The Backdrop
Yoskowitz holds an honorary doctor
of divinity degree, a master's degree in
Hebrew literature and rabbinic ordination
from the Jewish Theological Seminary of
America in New York. At the University
of Florida Graduate School, he received
a United States Public Health Fellowship
and a master's in clinical psychology.
Through the Bush Foundation
Leadership Program, Yoskowitz was
appointed a visiting fellow at the
University of Minnesota Bioethics
Center. The author of numerous articles
and book reviews, he is editor of The
Kaddish Minyan, a book of 20 per-

Rabbi Herbert Yoskowitz at Adat Shalom's 2007 Dreidel Dance with Josh Kavner,
10, of Farmington Hills, Ari Segel, 11, of West Bloomfield, and Kyle Zaback, 11, of
Farmington Hills.

sonal stories about the impact of saying
Kaddish and the value of ritual in times
of chaos and stress.
"Adat Shalom has a very special place
within our community, and I am proud
to be a part of Adat Shalom history:'
he said. "The synagogue is Israel- and
Jewish-community focused. We are a
1,000-plus family congregation that has
shown warmth to its members. We have
encouraged serious text-based messages
from our rabbis and praying to God
from our cantors.
"Adat Shalom is a sacred place where
we can laugh and cry together, where
we can learn and rejoice in our Jewish
covenant with God. It is a sacred place
where we can reach for holiness."

Special Community
Yoskowitz believes the Detroit Jewish
community is unique in the intensity of
its devotion to Israel and in the thriving
co-existence of different wings of Judaism.
The Kaddish Minyan expressed this com-

munal oneness through significant con-
tributions to the book made by members
of the Conservative, Orthodox and Reform
During his time at Adat Shalom,
Yoskowitz founded a Caring Community
program that offers healing services and
other programs that assist individuals in
need. He has presented numerous edu-
cational programs. He instituted unique
"Jewish Journeys" programs for individ-
uals in the legal and health professions
and for those wanting in-depth cultural
exploration, culminating in trips to
Israel, Eastern Europe and Cuba.
He and Rachel have a mutual vision
about the need for innovative services
to help those in need in Metro Detroit.
After moving to Michigan, Rachel
became director of resettlement ser-
vice at Jewish Family Service. She later
became JFS director of Health and
Healing Initiatives, including the cre-
ation and direction of Project Chessed, a
program to aid the uninsured, for which

The Future
During his one-year sabbatical, he looks
forward to some meaningful projects in
the Detroit and Ann Arbor area. At the
end of his sabbatical year, Yoskowitz will
return to Adat Shalom in a part-time
capacity as he moves into retirement.
"As I begin my 15th year of service
to the greater Detroit community, and
my 11th year at Adat Shalom, I focus on
continuing to serve my congregational
fatally," Yoskowitz said. "As a pastor, I
have received great fulfillment in meet-
ing their needs across the life continu-
um, sharing the joys of people during
happy moments, and of comforting them
during the trying and difficult times. As
I move towards my sabbatical and semi-
retirement, I look forward to continuing
to be with people at life's most meaning-
ful moments.
"Rachel and I are eager to spend more
time with our children and grandchil-
dren and to travel more to Israel."
The Yoskowitzes are the parents of
Marc (Mimi), Jeremy and Lisa, and the
very proud grandparents of Caleb and
Jordyn. Jeremy was recently ordained at
JTS. He is campus rabbi at the Ann and
Nate Levine Schechter School in Dallas
and is a third-generation rabbi in the
Yoskowitz family.

Collegial View
Rabbi Aaron Bergman, who began as a
spiritual leader of Adat Shalom in July,
said, "Having Rabbi Yoskowitz as a col-
league and a consultant has been a
great experience for me and has really
smoothed my transition. He is hardwork-
ing, insightful and extraordinarily com-
mitted to the well being of our mem-
More than 500 members of the Adat
Shalom family honored Rabbi Yoskowitz
for his 14 years of dedicated service
to the Detroit Jewish community at a
Shabbat service and dinner in June 20.
Guest speaker was Rabbi Samuel Stahl,
rabbi emeritus, Temple Beth-El, San
The event was chaired by Arlene
Tilchin and Irwin Alterman. ❑



October 23 • 2008 Cl

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